NDA unity feast: Allies in Bihar ‘avoid talk while eating’; Kushwaha misses out due to ‘some urgent work’

Patna: In the first meeting after Nitish Kumar came back into NDA’s fold in 2017, all of the allies met a the dinner table on Thursday with only one major leader, Upendra Kushwaha from Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), skipping the event.

Kushwaha, One of the key players to demand distribution of seats for 2019 Lok Sabha elections, reportedly conveyed his ‘inability’ to BJP president Nityanand Rai due to“some urgent work”. However, his party was represented by former union minister Nagmani and other party leaders.

Senior leaders from the ruling NDA’s constituents in Bihar–BJP, Janata Dal (United), Lok Janshakti Party (LJP)– present during the dinner, but no discussion on issues raised by the allied parties in the recent past were not discussed during the meet.

The dinner was under heavy political scanner due to JD(U)’s demand of prominent role in the Lok Sabha polls and chief minister Nitish Kumar’s concerns over issues like special status for Bihar and farmer insurance schemes.

“Bihar hasn’t got the special package. We are with the NDA for larger interest of the state. BJP has to get more responsible,” JD (U) leader Shyam Rajak said before the dinner. He reiterated the party’s stand to contest in no less than 25 Lok Sabha seats.

“If NDA wants to benefit from Nitish Kumar’s clean image, it has to do justice to JD(U) and the chief minister’s work,” he said.

Bihar sends 40 MPs to the Lok Sabha and in the 2009 general elections, the JD(U) contested 25 seats and rest had BJP candidates. In 2014, both contested separately with JD(U) winning only two seats and the BJP getting 22. The LJP and RLSP contested in alliance with the BJP and won six out of seven and three out of three seats they contested, respectively.

Nitish Kumar sat along with deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi, BJP in-charge Bhupendra Yadav, union minister and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, his son Chirag Paswan, BJP state president Nityanand Rai, union minister Ravishankar Prasad, Radha Mohan Singh, Ashwini Chowbey and Ram Kripal Yadav.

Kumar left the dinner without speaking to the media.